Monday, October 24, 2016

U.S. Anti-Native Racism Update

[TRIGGER WARNING: MURDER BY POLICE, SUICIDE, GUN VIOLENCE]

I talk a lot about anti-black racism here, but it's important to keep in mind how often racism and police brutality against Native Americans goes unnoticed - due in part to the fact that it's rarely reported on.

A Native woman in my area was killed by police last Friday after a family member called the police to help her out of fear that she was going to kill herself. Renee Davis had been struggling with depression, which is very high among the Indigenous American population. As has happened far too many times, instead of helping her, the police shot and killed her. The cops say she had a handgun on her but A) yeah right and B) not every person holding a gun around the police deserves to die. And certainly every person doesn't.

To make things even more tragic, she was five months pregnant. And her two- and three-year-old were in the house when she was murdered. Also she has another five-year-old kid who wasn't there but is now motherless. (Where are the pro-lifers on this? Oh wait she wasn't white so they don't care.)

Native Americans are actually killed by police at a higher rate than any other race. The percentage of people killed by police who are Native is more than double the rate of Native people who actually exist in the country - 1.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. The low numbers may explain the lack of representation in the media and even on social justice blogs like mine, but it doesn't excuse it.

This doesn't mean we should talk less about anti-black racism or that the Black Lives Matter movement isn't as important. But we need to make sure to include other races in the conversation about police brutality and systemic white supremacy in the U.S. and abroad. Native Americans also have their own unique issues to deal with, including the fact that non-Native people can go onto reservations, commit violent crimes against Native persons, and then will be tried by a non-reservation court, The low number of convictions of these mostly white men suggests what you might suspect - these courts are not friendly to Native Americans.

Plus the whole history of genocide and broken treaty after broken treaty, continuing today up to and including the Dakota Access Pipeline debacle.

Speaking of, police are still attacking and arresting mass amounts of DAPL protesters, Police are saying that the protest is "unlawful," by which they mean "effective," and ignoring the fact that the construction itself is unlawful. I wholeheartedly support any violence used by Native American protesters in an attempt to stop this treaty-breaking pipeline that will inevitably leak and poison their sacred land and destroy their livelihoods. They have so little left, and they're not even allowed to fight to keep that. Fuck the police, fuck the U.S. government, fuck respectability politics, fuck oil companies, and fuck this entire country in general.

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